We are very pleased to welcome Chrissie Blaze to
SoulfulLiving.com as our newest monthly columnist!
Each month, Chrissie will share one of her Eight Steps
to Inner Fitness from her book, "Workout for the Soul."
Step 3 - Harmonizing with the Breath of Life
Breathing is one of the most fundamental and
important steps in our journey to inner fitness. The
process of breathing is one of the great miracles of
life and without it we die. We enter and leave this
world with a gasp of breath; in between life is a
continuous series of breaths. When we breathe we live
and when we breathe deeply and fully we live deeply and
The yogis and adepts from India knew that by
controlling their breath, they controlled their minds.
For thousands of years, Taoist Masters taught natural
breathing to their students through Chi Kung, Tai Chi
and other martial and healing arts. Students of the
ancient Chinese art of breath manipulation, Chi Kung,
practice disciplined breathing as a way to gain total
control over their bodies and minds.
Because breathing is so fundamental, we take it for
granted. Concentrating on breathing is like re-learning
how to walk; it seems like a waste of time. The most
common mistake people make is to breathe too shallowly
using only the top portion of the lungs, which means
they are breathing too fast. The average rate of
breathing is 12-15 times a minute and this is considered
to be much faster than it should be. The ancient mystics
taught that our life is measured by a number of breaths
and that we could extend our life by breathing more
It is ironic that we spend so much time and money
searching for external solutions to our global problems
of ill-health and lack of vitality, while we neglect the
potential of the greatest source of energy available to
us - our breathing. While physical exercise, vitamins
and minerals, balanced nutrition, herbal medicine, etc.,
are important to achieve and maintain good health, the
starting point for us all is correct breathing habits.
After all, breathing is something we have to do anyway
– let’s do it correctly! Correct breathing brings us
so many wonderful benefits, including enhanced mental
strength, clearer sight, more dynamism, less fear and
anxiety, exercise of our internal organs as well as
better health and vitality through an improved immune
The mind is by its nature unsteady and it is affected
by our senses: by what we see, hear, feel, etc., at
every minute of every day. When we concentrate our minds
we find our breathing automatically becomes deeper and
slower. When we have bad news that causes us to be sad
or angry, our breathing becomes irregular, the opposite
of the slow, smooth flow of the breath when the mind is
calm. This proves that our mind and breath are
interdependent and are each unable to act independently
of each other. Correct breathing gives us physiological
and psychological balance.
We also intuitively acknowledge the relationship
between mind and energy. We know that when we have lots
of physical vitality, we also have greater clarity of
mind. When we feel tired and fatigued physically our
minds usually follow suit and we feel we have "no
mental energy." As it is true that our breathing
affects our body and mind, then it follows that the
rhythm and rate of the breathing not only indicates one’s
physical condition but helps to create our health and
energy level. Breathing, then, is far more than it
appears to be.
If you ask most people what is the purpose of
breathing, they will say it is to take in oxygen in
order to sustain our bodies and minds, or words to that
effect. They may also explain that when we breathe too
fast, we reduce the level of carbon dioxide in our
blood. When this happens, no matter how much oxygen we
may breathe in, we will still experience a shortage of
oxygen, making us tense.
These are extremely important factors and illustrate
why deep, slow and rhythmical breathing is so important.
Deep breathing of fresh, clean air fills the bloodstream
with oxygenated particles that are pumped by the heart
to every extremity of the body, feeding every cell and
causing waste toxic matter to be consumed. However, even
this is not the most important part of breathing, which
is referred to by mystics as the "negative"
aspect. The "positive" aspect and most
important one is the direct absorption of prana by the
nervous and brain systems, without which we could not
exist. This is why the yogis and Masters in the East
taught correct breathing techniques and these are
referred to as pranayama, which is control or mastery (yama)
over the energy (prana).
During our regular in and out breathing, we draw in a
certain amount of prana. With controlled breathing, or
pranayama, we draw in more prana, which is stored in the
brain and nerve centers. Our body will then be able to
draw upon this storehouse of vitality as and when it is
required. Yogis and practitioners of Chi Kung channel
the pranas drawn in upon the breath to any part of the
body that needs it, revitalizing and charging the area.
This is the basis of self-healing.
Mastering the complete breath will take time, effort
and patience but it is worth all your efforts. Diligent
practice is the key because it will take time for your
muscles and nervous system to handle this new technique;
persist with it and eventually you will find that deep,
rhythmical breathing will become habitual. Deep
breathing is the body’s natural rhythm and what our
body naturally wants us to do!
The complete breath employs various spaces of the
chest and the spaces of our abdomen, back, spine and
solar plexus. The three different phases of the complete
breath actually form one complete movement. These phases
are the diaphragm breath, chest breathing and high
breathing. Any one of the three breathing methods fills
only a small portion of our lungs. As we learn to use
the complete breath, our whole respiratory system comes
into play and no portion of the lungs is left unfilled
with fresh air and, more importantly, prana.
Prior to beginning the complete breath, spend a few
minutes performing rhythmical breathing. Sit in yoga
posture, or on a firm chair with your back straight,
feet resting on the floor and palms down on the knees.
Remain physically relaxed and mentally alert. Inhale
through the nostrils to a count comfortable to you.
Exhale slowly and gently to the same count. Do this
until you feel the rhythm vibrating through your body.
Now start breathing through your nostrils and inhale
steadily. Fill the lower, middle and then the high part
of your lungs. Retain the breath in the body for a few
seconds and exhale slowly. Hold your chest in a firm
position and draw your abdomen in a little and lift it
slowly upwards as the air leaves. When you have exhaled,
relax your chest and abdomen. At the end of each
complete breath, your abdomen should be slightly drawn
We are conditioned to believe that to stay strong we
must exercise our external muscles but ignore the fact
that our internal parts also need exercise. The complete
breath will do this and so help all our internal
functions from digestion to assimilation and
elimination. It will revitalize the core of our being;
balance, harmonize and ground us as well as feed our
The complete breath will also retard and reverse the
aging process. As we age, instead of relying on the
physical body to lift and move things, we can start to
utilize more fully this great power of prana that comes
to us on every breath we breathe.
Chrissie's Introductory Article, "Workout for the Soul."
the Introduction, "The Eternal Quest."
Step 1 - "Preparing Your Temple."
Step 2 - "Refreshing the Soul."
© Copyright Chrissie Blaze.
Excerpted from "Workout for the Soul: 8 Steps to
Inner Fitness," published by AsLan
Publishing, Inc., November 2001.
|"Every breath we
take, every mouthful of liquid or solid we consume, is
charged with that vital force known in the East as Prana.
In fact Prana is the sum total of all Cosmic
energy. It is the energy which enables you to bend
your little finger; it is the energy which, manifesting
as gravitation, causes a passing meteor to be drawn into
the orbit of a planetary body. Without Prana, there
could be no motion of any kind and all Cosmic
manifestation would fade into its original state of
dark, motionless potential; for Prana is the energy
which brings forth the realization of the original
possibilities into the numerous phases of activated
manifestation which constitute the whole of Cosmic
© 2002 The Aetherius Society. Excerpted
from Contact Your Higher Self Through Yoga by Dr. George King,
published by The Aetherius Press, Los Angeles. All
rights reserved. No publication in whole or part can be
done without written permission from The Aetherius
Society.For further information, contact The Aetherius
or telephone (323) 465 9652. For a brief biography of
Dr. George King visit www.chrissieblaze.com.
Chrissie Blaze, a teacher, author, astrologer,
media personality and senior Aetherius Church minister
was a close student of Dr. George King (Yoga Master and
founder of The Aetherius Society) for 25 years. Chrissie
Blaze has written books including Workout for the
Soul: Eight Steps to Inner Fitness, AsLan
Publishing, Inc., November, 2001, Mercury Retrograde:
Your Survival Guide to Astrology’s Most Precarious
Times of the Year, Warner Books, Inc., April, 2002,
and The Baby’s Astrologer: Your Guide to Good
Parenting Is In the Stars, Warner Books, Inc., 2003
publication. For further information and details of
classes and workshops in the Los Angeles area, please
Tel: (213) 598 9552 (voicemail) or (323) 465 9652.
BACK TO "SOULFUL